jim-profile2Jay Griffith and Sarah Collett (of A Thoughtful Faith Podcast) sit with James W. McConkie to speak with him about his personal history and family. As a nephew of Bruce R. McConkie and Joseph B. Wirthlin, Jim has a unique perspective of the Church and the brethren and a valuable approach to the Gospel.  Speaking about his faith, parenting, and his views on the historical Christ, Jim explains his approach to doubt and difficult questions.



  1. Renee March 15, 2013 at 10:17 pm - Reply

    What happened to the Josh and Lolly Weed interview?

  2. Carl Youngblood March 16, 2013 at 4:35 am - Reply

    I’m only halfway through the first segment, but I have to say, he’s talking about how church leaders have differences of opinions on critical doctrines, including his uncle’s confession that he was wrong on the priesthood ban and had repented of it. My big concern about this is that this honesty and humility was never shown in public. It does no good to have private moments of humility coupled with public arrogance, and I don’t think that constitutes real repentance. It does tremendous damage to the Church to perpetuate false notions of perfection and infallibility in our leaders’ public conduct. It is unrighteous dominion and it fosters idolatry.

    I also strongly disagree with his claim that keeping quiet until unanimity is reached is the best policy. It causes the Church to be reactive instead of proactive, and it means that members can’t look to individual authorities for help on particular issues. If authorities are more free to share personal views, then each member can gravitate towards the authority whose opinions they feel most coincide with theirs. Instead we have a vacuum that causes many people who struggle to look outside the Church for help, which often reinforces a feeling that the Church doesn’t meet their needs and causes many to become disaffected.

    • Lilli March 17, 2013 at 12:13 pm - Reply

      Great comments Carl. I totally agree. Giving the false impression that prophets & apostles can’t fall or be wrong is very destructive and leads to causing people to follow blindly & thus be easily deceived, for they think the ‘thinking has been done for them”.

      The history of the Church and the scriptures are filled with instances where prophets & apostles and the high church leaders have been wrong many times have even fallen and lead many people or the Church astray.

      Being humble & honest& forthright is vital for leaders, especially when they have been wrong, so people don’t keep being led astray by their false opinions or doctrine.

    • adyia March 22, 2013 at 9:04 pm - Reply

      I agree, Carl. There is a big difference between publicly saying We have a new revelation: God is finally allowing blacks to hold the Priesthood, the curse of Cain is no longer in effect, versus, privately we recognize this is a doctrinally incorrect policy and it needs to be change. I wish there was more transparency on this sort of thing.
      There are things within church culture (not doctrine, mind you, but the culture) which make me cringe when faced with inequality as a woman. But I know if I speak up, I will be painted as a raving flaming feminist who lusts for power. Mother in Heaven only exists on Mothers day, and that too only because we sing “O My Father” by Eliza Snow. “As man is, God once was. As God is, man may become.” Since Mother is never mentioned, who are we to look to become as women? At least there is one ordinance in the Temple which speaks to the nobleness, divinity, and spiritual rights of women, but I don’t find it anywhere else in the church culture.
      This refusal to openly acknowledge Her is also not scripturally supported.
      Someday. *sigh*

  3. Carl Youngblood March 16, 2013 at 4:55 am - Reply

    Another critique I have of his defense of leaving apologetics to experts. The problem with this is that it creates a disconnect between everyday church culture and apologetics culture. The apologists are totally open about many things that would be flatly denied by most members and leaders. It prevents the Church from growing up by fostering a culture in which a much higher level of conformity and dogmatism is required than is warranted by the evidence, and it makes the issues that much more challenging when they are discovered.

  4. jane March 16, 2013 at 9:24 am - Reply

    I read with interest Youngblood’s comments on his oopinion that McConkie “never” apologized in public and was not humble. I was present on an ocassion when his talk was all about the fact that he had been called and that God could have had others to serve. I certainly admit that his style was abrupt and often without much grace or elegance. HOWEVER, Youngblood’s comments are hardly humble, forgiving or kind. We all do the best we can; some of us have to do it very publicly.

    After listening to both parts, I wanted to focus my comments on my perceptions of Jim McConki’s sensibilities regarding Biblical grace (as opposed to Bruce McConkie’s lack of graceful style) and our relationship to God: what we are are now as opposed to what we can become, and how we should see those who doubt or leave That discussion reflected a genuinely kind soul. So glad that particular McConkie voice is heard. Can’t wait to read the book on “inclusive Christ”.

  5. jane March 16, 2013 at 9:51 am - Reply

    I read with interest Jim’s comments about family, different points of view, and the historical Jesus. He was respectful of all sides and I appreciated his thoughtful comments. Carl Youngblood’s comments that the decision making process in the Church ought to be more transparent is wrong-headed. Whether it is the First Presidency and Twelve or a President and his Cabinet, confidentiality is essential in the decision making process. This does not prevent others from expressing their own points of view on various subjects.

    I also enjoyed Jim’s comments on the Apostle Paul, Margaret Barker, and the historical Christ. I was not aware of the work that Barker has done which is of such interest to Mormons. Her work on temple theology is facinating and helpful. I really enjoyed this podcast. Thanks

    • Zack T. March 16, 2013 at 1:09 pm - Reply


      Thank-you for thoughtful comments and defending a good and thoughtful man that James is shown himself to be in this pod-cast.

    • Lilli March 17, 2013 at 10:19 pm - Reply

      I have to disagree, I believe it is vital for Church leaders to be transparent in their decision making, for they have to prove to us that they did it righteously. We aren’t expected to have blind faith & obedience in them. They owe us an accounting with money and other such decisions, IF they want us to support them.

      Church leaders are different than Government leaders who might have security issues to keep confidential.

      Church leaders should also be willing to share their political beliefs & more about their personal life & past history, for we have to be able to determine if they are righteous men & true disciples of Christ. If they keep everything about themselves hidden, then how will we be able to trust them & make sure they are trustworthy, for we have to be able to judge them by their ‘fruits’, which is their opinions, political & religious, and the way they have lived their personal lives.

      Political views say a lot about a person & show if they are standing for right or not.

  6. Jonn March 16, 2013 at 10:08 am - Reply

    Jim’s comments on the difference it makes to focus on our weaknesses and sins rather than on the promise of what men and women may become was truly enlightening. I also thought his comments about viewing Paul through eyes of Jesus in the Four Gospels rather than viewing Jesus through the eyes of Paul were interesting on the issue of grace. I did not realize that the Four Gospels have very little to say on grace and a lot to say about living the Ten Commandments and loving each other. Good interview. Would like to hear more like this.

  7. Robin March 16, 2013 at 10:28 am - Reply

    It is clear that Jim’s loyalties are to the Church, but I liked his tone and non-defensivness. No matter what the question Jim treated it respectfully. His story about how George A. Smith got a stronger testimony was also interesting. President Smith was an honest person.

  8. Garrett March 16, 2013 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    The story of the atheist asking (paraphrasing Jim), “tell me in 10 minutes the most important thing about God”, and the response that God is an exalted man….made me want to scream out “YES!!”. But then I was brought back to the fact we never talk about it, teach it, focus on it, and in fact, we’ve swept that little gem of a belief under our rug. Instead, Mormonism has evolved into bickering over bare shoulders, number of ear piercings, R rated movies, and so much other trivial stuff that Jim’s brand of Mormonism is foreign to the majority of mainstream Mormons. It’s frustrating, really.

  9. Doug March 16, 2013 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    An enjoyable and informative couple of hours listening to the James McConkie interview. Thanks. That said, I could not escape the feeling at times that I was being ‘manipulated’ (too strong a word but can’t think of another) by some lawyerly sophistry–like a court proceeding with an absent defendant and no representation. I think my feelings are a bit like Jay’s point about the church position still being presented much by soliloquy rather than dialogue–though by saying that I recognize the risk of open season on discussing issues. As James was mentioning about the Creed of Nicaea being a product of Greek thought, it has occurred to me that the Mormon theology of man progressing toward Godhood has the feel of Enlightenment philosophy. Lastly, if the Old Testament and, in fact, key aspects of the Book of Mormon, reveal the character of God and a general representation of God’s practice of dealing with his children, it’s a good thing God would probably not have me because I would turn down the offer. I have no aspirations to become that being. (But that is a much longer discussion.) Again, thanks to Sarah, Jay, and especially James.

  10. Brad March 17, 2013 at 6:06 am - Reply

    Jesus was angered by institutions? The church is an institution! Look at the City Creek Mall! Rolex watches, Tiffany, diamonds, gold, silver and pearls. Penthouse apartments for the rich to overlook temple square. A great and spacious building to congregate for general conferences. Which pocket paid for the Golden Idol Mall and the rest of downtown Zion?
    I went there to feel the spirit of God…what I found was man in his glory, they spoke of Jesus Christ but they did not know him…

    • Doug March 17, 2013 at 8:40 am - Reply

      Brad, I was a bishop when the consolidated meeting schedule was implemented. The GA who came to give us an early overview made some interesting, candid comments (as best I can remember.) He said President Kimball was concerned the church was becoming a real estate company that, incidentally, held some church meetings. We were told we’d be expected to lock up the buildings after meetings Sunday and, except for twice a month leadership meetings on Tuesday, keep the buildings closed and to expect to have 4 units or so meeting in each building. He said President Kimball was evaluating putting ordinance rooms in ‘stake centers’ where membership was low and/or scattered, and build small, inexpensive but functional temples. Quite frankly, it was the last time I felt connected to the senior leadership. A couple of years after the conference center was built, Karen and I stopped once to go see it. As we walked toward it from the east Karen said, “I’m uncomfortable .. this looks like the paintings of Babylon. Do you care if we don’t go in.” Thankfully she said that because I was ready to just turn around and walk away.

      • Brad March 18, 2013 at 9:01 am - Reply

        Sadly, this is the same emotional reaction I get going to temple square. It was the same reaction I encountered driving into Vegas at night, for the first time, so many years ago.
        The emotion I felt seemed primal and encoded, invoking a neccesity to take flight.

    • Lilli March 18, 2013 at 11:05 am - Reply

      Amen Brad. I believe Christ is disgusted with City Creek and the way the Church is using funds on such things instead of for all the widows & fatherless who are in desperate need.

      • Zack T. March 21, 2013 at 5:35 pm - Reply

        To help balance such responses and be thoughtful here are a few things to consider Lilli and Brad:

        1) No tithing or offerings money was used for the City Creek project. (I believe this money comes from for profit income producing companies the church runs or owns)If I am wrong show me and give me references.

        2) I would challenge anyone to point to any christian churches or otherwise that do more for the Poor, widows, fatherless both and in service, food, housing, cash assistance than the Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day saints does for its people through the offerings and humanitarian systems. This is truly the widow’s mite at work.

        Before lest any one fully misunderstands my statement, others as well as Christian Churches do alot! They too are a giving people, can we do more….we can, but this is for sake of balance for those who cast negativity on how much the church does.

        3) The Leaders of this church and it’s lay ministers as a whole watch out for those in need. (not perfectly, but admirably).

        In the end I trust the Lord Jesus Christ will be our judge on how this churches resources are used.

        4) Finally, you can say “ALL RESOURCES SHOULD GO TO THE POOR” that is good, yet I become dismayed when we present this subject as if some how the Church is evil or misuses it’s funds in a greedy way. I reject that. But your point would better be stated by saying no money should go to administration or infrastructural or clergy of any kind. I can respect that stated that way, but I have no respect for full and total criticisms that the church does little of nothing or it is evil or negative.

        Being Accurate and having clarity helps balance the debate.

        • Brad March 22, 2013 at 8:27 am - Reply

          You are right on all counts. As Fred points out, my views are childish. It would be more appropriate for my personal views to stay personal. I can work these things out myself and in private.
          I have not attended church for over a year. No one from the ward has come to visit. My wife still goes on occasion and pays our tithes and offerings but past that…I really don’t stand in a position to critique the church or its doctrine or actions when I don’t have a vested interest.

          • Zack T. March 22, 2013 at 9:46 am

            Brad, you showed by this comment what a good and thoughtful person you must be. We all come varying experiences and points of view. Once when ask why he handles himself in the way he does when dealing historical debates Richard Bushman said: “simply as a tactical matter in any kind of controversy, it never serves you well to show scorn towards your opponent. That may make the people who are on your side rejoice and say, ‘kick them again.’ But for those who are in the middle who are trying to decide which truth is right, you just alienate them, you just drive them into the hands of your opponent.” Thanks for your reply Brad.

        • Brian Johnston March 22, 2013 at 9:46 am - Reply

          *ALL* the resources of our church came from tithes and offerings: by the faith and sacrifices of the members. If the church finance department made profitable investments, that isn’t a money-laundering scheme to make it no longer tithes and offerings.

          I wish you could back up your claim that no other organization on Earth gives as much to the poor and needy. I really would like that to be true. But there’s no financial transparency in our church. We don’t know. It’s even considered apostate to ask for a summary accounting of it :-(

          They have *billions* to sink into a single real estate project with sketchy connection to the purposes of a religion, and apparently still take care of all the widows and orphans and poor … but they don’t want to tell anyone how much they have or where it goes …

          All I can say is that it doesn’t make me feel very good about what is going on. We’re supposed to listen to the promptings of The Spirit, right? Or are we just supposed to shut up and not ask questions?

        • Brad March 23, 2013 at 6:51 am - Reply

          Zack, reflecting on point 4.
          I don’t think the church or the general authorities are evil. In my view the men that run the church truly have love and compassion noteworthy of any religious body. To say they can’t be misguided is a stretch for me. They are as human as the rest of us compared to god.
          I have a great appreciation for the welfare system they administer, like the dairy farms, cattle ranches, farm crops and the store houses. Also I can appreciate the broadcast companies and insurance companies that help administer to the needs of the the church as functionary integrated entities. I also think they should be given compensation under the heavy burden they carry in their callings.
          But in my opinion, branching out into a high end retail venture falls outside the churches mission. Deseret industries aligns with the mission of the church in every regard. This is why I think the city creek mall is a misguided venture for the church. The mall is the Babylon of temple square in my eyes.
          The ministry of Jesus was among the people. He did not build a single building…something to ponder.
          ( sorry Zack my silence didn’t last very long, I need to work on that principle).

        • Maddy March 24, 2013 at 9:28 pm - Reply

          I’m also uncomfortable with the ostentatious Conference Center and City Creek Center. On the other hand, i would love to hear that the Church built a hospital somewhere it was needed, or low-income housing or a soup kitchen or a school etc.

          #1 Some would use the “money is fungible” argument to say tithing was used. If the Church used corporate money to maintain/build meeting houses/temples etc. it wouldn’t have the funds to build luxury housing and shopping centers. Additionally, where did the money initially come from to buy and invest in business? Was Brigham Young or other leaders independently wealthy?
          The Church isn’t required, for tax exempt status, to spend every donated dollar the same year it is collected. It would be perfectly legal to loan that money to Church businesses as long as some point in the future the donated money is used for charitable purposes.

          #2 The Church doesn’t publically report on donations it receives and how much it spends. The only figures I’ve seen are 25 yr figures for charitable work which aren’t impressive evaluated on a yearly basis. On the other hand, Catholic Charities USA does make public its finances. The Catholic Church does a tremendous amount of charity work across the world. I cringe when i hear Church members make prideful comments about the LDS Church being “second to none.” We honestly have no idea how we stack up against other charities. The Church can and does mobilize large numbers of people when disasters strike–and members contribute blankets and hygiene kits etc but are we giving food and other aid on a consistent basis, not just during disasters to people–(not just to members)–in other parts of the world?

          Carl–i agree.

          On a side note. My son is attending a UC school and at a recent Ward Conference the Stk President gave a talk and spoke about polygamy, flawed leaders, (including figures such as Thomas Jefferson and George Washington), referred to Joseph Smith as a “rough stone rolling.” My soul is starved for such honest and knowledgable leaders!

          • brett bair March 26, 2013 at 10:53 am

            There is financial information available about the church in England, Canada, and other countries that mandate disclosure. In the US checkout land and cattle ranches owned by God’s true church. Do not trust everything folks say. Use reason, facts and evidence to the best of your ability.

        • Ledoctore April 11, 2013 at 3:17 am - Reply

          With all due respect I”d like to speak to item 2. Businessweek did an interesting article on the church in the prelude to the 2012 elections. One of the things pointed out was that while the LDS church spent something on the order of 0.7% of it’s earnings on humanitarian projects, the United Methodist Church by way of contrast paid out something on the order of 28 or 29% (sorry I don’t recall exactly)of it’s earnings for the same purposes.

          One thing that always makes me cringe is that unlike the admonition by Christ to do alms in private the LDS church likes to report, down the the man hour, the last cent and pound of goods just how much they did. It seems that quite often this is the fallback argument made by “died in the wool” members; when confronted with criticism you can bet the retort will be “look at all the good we do”.
          Let’s not forget the harm we do. The history of the church is quite full on that count as well. Relocating Native American children (we make them white and delightsome)away from their families and cultures is one. Evergreen, “curing” gays by attaching electrodes to the genitalia while watching gay porn (shades of “A Clockwork Orange”) is another. Of course there was the entirely bizarre priesthood ban for blacks from 1853-1978, the aftermath of which (due to the mindset it created) is still being felt. To be sure the church does some good things but they certainly have no corner on the market. The saddest thing, at least to me, is that when they are wrong the steadfastly refuse to own that. Any thinking individual recognizes that the priesthood ban was wrong. You can’t have an eternal unchanging God who first gives blacks the priesthood, then changes His mind deciding that (as John Taylor stated) the only reason they made it through the flood was so Satan could have representation on earth the, finally reversing Himself again and restoring the priesthood. The entire thing makes a mockery of the doctrine of “infinite atonement”.

  11. Brad March 18, 2013 at 7:35 am - Reply

    The narrative was interestingly thought provoking and subjective. A personal narrative of simplistic doctrine morphed and transcended to accommodate the consequences of ones personal liability of salvation. The narratives we encounter mold our perspectives as we attempt to interject God, vainly constructing a reality in which we find comfort. Ultimately we construct or deconstruct popular opinion and call the process intellectual integrity. Our vanity supposes we can tune our souls toward god when in reality our conclusions reflect our ignorance toward a god that is unknown to us. Yet we develop dogmatic narratives to comfort our intellect.

  12. Seasickyetstilldocked March 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm - Reply

    There is no logical justification for the deliberations of the Brethren to remain secret. If these guys are capable of perpetuating a “policy” of discrimination for who knows how many years, then it might be a good idea to have some transparency. It makes no sense to run to the defense of the Brethren and cry human and fallible while at the same time arguing that they manage this organization in secret. How is that a good idea again?

    The problem is that you have regular guys managing a world wide organization with no accountability. The problem is you have regular guys encouraging and even requiring the belief that they are prophet, seer and revelators while at the same time being defended as just human dudes who make mistakes.

    Mr. McConkie wants to have it both ways. Why should he? What have the Brethren done to actually earn the right to operate in secret? Does their track record actually support giving them a free pass with no transparency and accountability? He talks about how this somehow preserves the brotherly love necessary for them to work together. The last time I checked, the Brethren are special witness of Jesus Christ……love for each other should be the least of their problems.

    He speaks several times about how it is a mistake to challenge or question the Brethren and even describes Mr. Quinn as being unwise to challenge the Brethren. I suppose it is unwise if you want to remain ensconced within the elitist Mormon inner circle. I suppose the wisdom of Mr. Quinn’s decision is found in how you are keeping score in life. I guess my problem is that I never really liked how the Church keept score.

  13. Fred March 20, 2013 at 6:01 pm - Reply

    I appreciated Jim’s interview–he is where many of us are, who have had questions but choose to believe and not throw the baby out with the bath water. The church has diversified investments of all kinds and City Creek is just another such investment–in this case high end real estate. The comment about the conference center is just flat out childish!

    • Brad March 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm - Reply

      I can’t speak for “us” because I can’t speak for others…I don’t believe there ever was a baby in the bath water…just bath water.

  14. Brian Johnston March 21, 2013 at 8:58 am - Reply

    Bro. McConkie (James) really did a fantastic job of representing an aware and positive faith. This would make a great introduction piece to give to faithful family and friends who want to understand more about the issues and about faith crisis.

    So on one hand, I really loved listening to his open, positive and inclusive views of our faith tradition. On the other hand, the “solutions” and answers he gave continued to break my heart… :-(

    The arguments with Evangelicals are old school. We’re not losing members to protestant Evangelicals over the minutiae of Bible interpretation. We’re losing them to the internal failings of OUR own religious narrative!

    Prophets and leaders aren’t perfect. They make mistakes. They are wrong sometimes. They need to do better. The Church needs to improve. God has to work with what He has on hand. etc. etc. etc. We need a HUGE dose of that medicine in the LDS Church!

    I accept all that. I want to have a charitable view of those other human beings (my brothers and sisters). I know it’s difficult to be a leader. But ultimately, that just punts the problem up the chain of command. It leaves you with a God that is really bad at hiring prophets … or a God that can’t communicate and rule effectively with the representatives God has on hand :-( Either way, you feel left with an unimpressive and incompetent God … which is why a lot of the Mormons who leave the church drift towards Atheism (like the sons of the other guest).

    It’s less painful to believe there’s no God (for many), than to feel like you are stuck in a world ruled by an exalted man (God) that can’t seem to fix anything when it’s a problem. What’s the point? Humans have to figure out everything and fix it themselves in the end. That God is irrelevant at best.

    This isn’t a purely theoretical, academic exercise either. For the people who slip through the cracks and don’t fit into our culture, or are harmed by the “mistakes.” It destroys some people, literally. Whoops! Sorry about your life or your eternal soul and all that… :-( You must not have received the memo. Prophetic revelations and instructions told you the wrong thing. What kind of answer is that?

    The LDS Church works great for the small minority that are white, straight, male, affluent, well-educated and with theologian general authority extended family, get married before they are 24-ish, fertile, never get divorced, aren’t generally interested in science or history … Everyone else just needs to be a little more patient while they get ground under the stone rolling down from the high mountain.

    That’s what makes my heart ache. The answer is essentially worse than the question. :-(

    This problem has affected my life, and the lives of people I love. We’re the ones God can’t help, I guess? *I’m* one of those people on the outside.

    That insignificantly small minority inside the little circle need to all agree and feel really super good about it first, have time to adjust, or a generation has to die off first so they don’t have to be too put out of sorts at all by the change … all while the rest of us are floundering outside drowning or screaming for help.

    Love and charity leads one to forgive the failings of other people. I get that. I believe in it. But it doesn’t solve the problems. In some ways, it makes faith harder.

    • Seasickyetstilldocked March 21, 2013 at 4:15 pm - Reply

      Now, this is a great post.

    • square peg March 25, 2013 at 10:09 am - Reply

      Exactly Brian!

    • Lilli March 25, 2013 at 12:20 pm - Reply


      Why is God to blame if prophets are false, fall or incompetent? They are just men, prone to the same failings as everyone else. Judging by the high standards Christ set for his true disciples (perfectness & unconditional love) we should not expect many if any to be able to reach such a high level.

      Thus it’s our fault if we put faith in anyone who doesn’t prove over time they are ‘practically perfect & completely Christlike’.

      Christ warned us about all the false prophets that would try to deceive us today, saying they are true prophets. Joseph even warned us that most people in the Church fall for false prophets, thinking they are true prophets, because they preach so near to what true prophets preach, with just a few falsehoods thrown in.

      So if ‘we’ aren’t living really really righteous & thus be worthy of the Holy Spirit as our constant guide, AND studying the scriptures to know exactly what Christ really taught & expected, then we should expect us & most everyone else to be easily deceived by false prophets & false doctrine that appeals to the natural man in us.

      We see in the scriptures that righteous men, women & church leaders have always been very rare, why do we expect different today?

      And I agree that ‘love & charity’ leads one to forgive, but it doesn’t mean people stay around those they forgive if the person they forgive doesn’t completely repent.

      Love causes one to become wise, discerning & very untrusting of those who don’t prove they also possess true charity.

    • blake March 27, 2013 at 10:28 am - Reply

      Well said Brian!

  15. Gary March 21, 2013 at 5:52 pm - Reply

    I was impressed by Mr. McConkie’s ability to answer all questions presented and by his belief. I believe that he is sincere. I also believe that more openness is needed. Open the financial books and trust us with the knowledge of what you do with the tithing funds, the welfare funds, the missionary donations, etc. With financial openness will come more openness about the historical problems and doctrinal problems.

    The Church teaches us to repent when we make a mistake (sin). But they hide their mistakes and say “trust us” blindly. OK, they don’t say “blindly”, but their statements direct us to do so. The early Church was much more open than today’s Church.

    Thanks for the interview Jim.

    • Lilli March 25, 2013 at 12:45 pm - Reply

      False prophets always want people to follow them blindly & without question. They usually claim they aren’t wrong or can’t lead you or the group astray. They teach that if ‘your’ revelation is ‘different’ than theirs then ‘you’ are the one that is receiving false revelation, not them.

      While ‘true prophets’ instead, command us to always question, study & pray about everything they say & do, to make sure it’s right or not. They command us to ‘prove all things’ & if what they say is true by comparing it with what Christ & the scriptures say. They say that if ‘they’ ever preach contrary to the scriptures or Christ then you will know for sure they are preaching false doctrine. (That eliminates every prophet in the LDS Church since Joseph Smith)

      True Prophets admit they can be wrong & even fall & that many prophets have in the past, & that it is up to ‘us’ individually to keep an eye on them & detect if they are ever wrong or leading the people astray. For God will allow them to fall & take as many weak & blind people with them as they can. Ironically, I believe it was Brigham Young said that if people are led astray by a false prophet, they deserve to be.

      God will not save us from falling for false prophets if we refuse to think for ourselves or question everything those who call themselves ‘prophets’ do & say. But God does continually warn us about them in the scriptures.

      But the LDS like the new idea that’s preached today, that it’s impossible for there to ever be false prophets leading the Church, for it’s much easier to just believe that than having to continually watch out for them as Christ commanded us to.

      The LDS like to just accept & believe Wilford Woodruff’s ‘much easier new idea’ (which was totally contrary to what Christ, Joseph Smith & the scriptures always taught) ‘that prophets can’t lead the church astray’, for then everyone can just go back to sleep and believe that ‘all is well’ & not have to do all that silly studying, questioning, praying & proving all things or think for themselves, for it has already been done for them. Wow, isn’t that’s a relief, especially after all the ‘worrisome warnings about false prophets deceiving us’ that Christ & his ancient prophets, including Joseph Smith always riled us with. Thank goodness we don’t have to worry about all those false prophets anymore.

      Wasn’t it Hitler that said “How wonderful it is that the people don’t think”. I believe false prophets & the leaders of the Church say the same thing.

  16. Adam March 24, 2013 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    While Brother McConkie seems to have a much wider view of the possibility of the Brethren being in error, he still falls into the cognitive trap of assuming that authority figures should have less accountability than regular people. THIS IS THE SINGLE GREATEST CAUSE OF WRONG DOING ON EARTH. The truth is that any genuine authority a person has is completely due to their example and personal commitment to truth, not due to a badge, or calling given to them by other birds of the same feather.

    When you create little tin gods, every mistake they make weakens the faith, until, at a certain point, there is not enough good left to justify the organization.

    Lastly, he extols the virtue of loyalty within the Brethren to each other. This likewise is in opposition to truth. He admits that prophets and regulators are products of their time, but if they are allowed to ‘indulge’ in self-serving loyalty to the organization, then their value as leaders is short circuited.

    In Short, how can he defend authoritarianism as being superior to personal revelation? At best hierarchy is a set of ‘training wheels’ to aid in learning to choose. As soon as it becomes the end in itself, God is no longer in charge.

  17. Adam March 24, 2013 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Wow, this was depressing. To see Brother McConkie talk about Christ’s aggressive defense of the poor and abused in the beginning and then hear him finish with a blind faith in the works-first doctrine. How does he suppose that the Pharisees and Sadducee became corrupt, if not for the ego-driven elitism of works? The High Priests that judged Jesus didn’t think they were doing anything wrong any more than our Leaders did in the 1950s when they told blacks to go to church somewhere else.

    There is a reason why Jesus said: “…Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God. Mark 10:18. The dangers of seeing one’s self as “Good” are great. Pride causes people to disregard their fellow man, and in this makes them incapable of keep both 2nd and therefor the 1st commandment.

    Lastly, his obsession with exaltation IS a sin. While well meant, it truly does miss the mark to become enthralled with becoming a God, because there is not one scripture that says we have to be perfect to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The scriptures only say we have to be clean.

    As a church, we need to be spending at least as much time trying to be good people as we do trying to be gods.

  18. Jason March 27, 2013 at 9:49 am - Reply

    I’ve enjoyed this very much, however the comment that the word grace “doesn’t even exist” in the 4 gospils is a stupid statement.

  19. KC March 27, 2013 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Totally agree. One definition of grace I like is “the unmerited favor of God”. Think of all the great stories; the women taken in adultery, the prodigal son, the women with an issue of blood, the raising of Lazarus, all the healings, the boy that got up and took his bed having been healed by Jesus, and on and on. Aren’t these all examples of grace. I can’t see how McConkie misses this. Plus I weary of the same ole attacks on the idea of Grace held by our Christian brethren. There may be a few who believe they are saved in sin but the vast majority of the Christians I know believe that grace requires you to live a life in Christ. That means you lead a life that emulates Christ in every way and where you fall short and sin, you repent. Bro. McConkie please read “The Grace Awakening” by Charles Swindoll.

    And then to dismiss Paul and his teachings of grace is just silly. Without Paul the Christian church would still be a sect of Judaism. The church is what it is today largely because of Paul. Without Paul there would be nothing for Joseph to restore because nobody would have been arguing Christian religion in upstate New York to even plant the idea of restoration in Joseph’s head.

    But I respect James McConkie for coming on the podcast and I enjoyed the discussion.

  20. Dcharle March 27, 2013 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    So let get it stright, leave it to the smart and educated people to try and understand the complexities of “the kingdom” for the rest of you, just trust that it’s all true…

  21. KS April 4, 2013 at 3:22 pm - Reply

    Excellent. My favorite Mormon Stories episode that I have heard (and I have listened to many)

  22. Garrett April 15, 2013 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    My biggest challenge with Bruce McConkie isn’t the comments he made about blacks and the Priesthood. At least he recanted those. My main issue is the comments he made about blood atonement…that it’s a relative law, meaning it would be “ok” in a theocracy, even though we don’t practice now. My personal conscience and moral compass tell me that never, under any circumstance, would one need to shed their own blood to atone for sins such as adultery and apostasy. This is the same challenge I have with the Abraham/Isaac story. I’ve always felt that Abraham failed the test. The right answer would have, should have been, “ain’t no way in hell that I’m going to take my son, stick him on an alter, and kill him. Go take a hike.” By getting just to the point of killing his own innocent son, Abraham didn’t pass the test…he failed! By Bruce McConkie saying that Blood Atonement would be justifiable under the right government structure, he failed the human decency test, just as the elders in Afghanistan fail the human decency every time they stone a woman for adultery.

    • Lilli April 29, 2013 at 10:06 am - Reply


      I believe you are right about Abraham. He should have known like Joseph Smith and Paul did and taught, that if God or personal revelation or an angel or a prophet or anyone, asks you to do something that is against the scriptures and Christ, then you know it’s wrong, and you shouldn’t follow it or them or you will be held accountable.

      Either God was testing Abraham and he failed and then God saved Issac at the last second OR the adversary gave Abraham false revelation to sacrifice his son and he fell for it because he lost the Spirit long ago because he committed adultery with Hagar and never fully repented of it, but went on to take on more adulterous concubines, etc.

      Joseph Smith taught that our revelation can come from either God or our own mind and heart or from Satan, so we need to make sure it’s right. When people commit adultery by polygamy (which Christ, Joseph Smith and ancient BoM Prophets said is ‘never’ right or authorized by God) then they quickly lose the right Spirit and easily fall for false revelation or false angels like Abraham appeared to do.

      God can’t ask anyone to sin or do evil, or he would cease to be God. He can’t even give someone a pass to sin, for God has to keep the same eteranl laws as we do, that’s how we know what is right from wrong.

      People often think prophets can’t fall, yet the scriptures and church history are full of accounts of Prophets falling, usually by immorality, by affairs or polygamy.

      Christ and true prophets have continually warned us about not being deceived to follow ‘false and fallen’ prophets.

  23. Pedro A. Olavattia April 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm - Reply

    James McConkie….I like this guy:)

  24. ROSALIE KELSEY April 29, 2013 at 12:02 pm - Reply

    James McConkie puts a lot in perspective.

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